I often set goals.
Sometimes, I fail!
After my son was born, I became determined to spend less in order to save. We needed to better prepare for life’s uncertainties. We needed a financial cushion.
A big part of saving is not spending.
I flunked in June.
Oh, how easy it is to slip back into one’s old ways.
I’m nobody’s guru but I like honesty when it comes to money.
I’m just over here like — why is money so tabboo?
So here’s what happened.
Our nanny takes one-third of our take home pay. She last cashed a check in mid-June.
We have a nanny because my son, Eli, has cystic fibrosis, a progressive and fatal lung illness. Since every cold he gets threatens to ramp up bacteria that lives in the sticky mucus in his lungs, we’ve done everything we can to keep him as healthy as possible. While my son’s health is a noble cause, this is a financial stretch — to say the least — for an Oklahoma teacher and journalist.
Can I be more specific?
Here are the low-lights from the last year of our financial crunch:
I have ocassionally counted pennies from a jar to put gas in my car to get to work.
There have been weeks we could not afford to buy groceries at the store. This is not ideal since my son has special nutritional needs, but none of us have ever starved.
We have paid our rent late time after time because we can’t afford to pay the sitter and the rent at once. We have kind and understanding landlords – thankfully.
Here are some highlights:
I’ve ramped up my side-work. I’ve waited tables for Christmas cash and medical bill payoff. I’ve written freelance articles for a big news organization that pays generously. Mark is copy editing curriculum for a great company at night. The side hustle checks help keep us afloat. We have not taken on any new debt since the birth of our son, who is 2.5. In fact, we managed to pay off significant medical bills. That slate is clean. Between the two of us, we carry roughly $30K in student loans.
Anyway, I’m not complaining. These are the facts. When you have a child with a chronic illness, certain expenses come up that you wouldn’t expect. I could not have predicted just how much I hated the idea of sticking Eli in a daycare.
Last year, that was off the table.
This year, it’s not.
After another year using pennies to fill the gas tank I kinda went coo coo – well, for us – in June.
A coupla seemingly minor, justified shopping sprees later (I’m streeeeeesed…need these cut-out booties), I found us in dire circumstance. Death by 1,000 cuts! Oh $&@” me I frittered it all away without a thought.
Then my landlord cashed the late rent check.
I discovered I’d overestimated our cash flow.
My bank account read: negative $700. HA (NOT HA)
I had to get a pay day loaner from my pop pops to get us through ’til pay day.
Yeah, I’m 35 years old and I just admitted that! Ya welcome!
Anyway — #$%^&*& June up royally means I am determined to do better in July. The turmoil has been an incredible strain.
I have been power-yoga’ing it out and taking it out on my garden. I spent five hours making a raised bed yesterday. RA!
May and June we went budget-free. What can I say. The end of the school year kicked us in the bums.
Our budgets have also been free from accountability.
We knocked out a July budget. Here are the two goals I’m going to try out this month with it.
1. The accountability shoe box. I’m going to turn in receipts and tally them up.
2. I’m entering into a one-month spending freeze. Can I go without fancy coffees, lunches, and shopping sprees? Yes. Will I? Jury’s out, but imgonna try.
Would you like to join me in my freeze? (Please, I’m already lonely in my goal).
For better or worse, I’ll hit publish now, releasing my mistakes and my goals to the world wide webs.
And with that release comes another opportunity to fail or succeed.
Wish me luck.
Have you tried a spending freeze before? What hits the cutting room floor? What did you keep? How did it go?
I’m tempted to call it a year-long freeze but I’m just going to take it month to month. Leave a comment, send a note!